Monday, February 27, 2006

Spring is on the way

The first of this season's lambs were born on February. They are Merlin and Malachi, twin ram lambs born to one of my favorite sheep, Loni, and Legolas, my gorgeous purebred Bluefaced Leicester ram.

Loni was bagging up a week or two before the birth, a sure way to tell that lambs are coming. At this time the sheep are in full magnificent fleece and it's hard to tell if they are pregnant or not. When the bag fills up, and the sheep start walking like they are pulling a cart, I have to be ready.

Loni has a face only a mother could love. She is a crossbred sheep, and her face looks like another generation was needed to make everything gell into place. Her lambs are absolutely gorgeous, big and long, with wonderful soft fleece. I love big sheep, but God help me when they need shots and worming. That is where my husband comes in...he is quite the sheep wrangler, and knows how to get them around the neck with the crook and bring them around to where he can "hug" them around the neck while I do my dirty work.

I called the shearer the other day. He was pissed off because I used another shearer last year. He has more than he can handle, but it was a betrayal of loyalty I did not understand. He made me understand in a big way, and finally relented and said he would come.

I almost hate to shear them...they are so beautiful, with the waves of wool that rebound when they run. The shearing process is not pretty, but must be done, to let their skin breathe and grow another crop of the stuff that makes them so valuable.

Then Maggie will pick, and pick, and pick. Next year coats are going on them, to keep the sun from burning the ends. I often have six inches of soft black fleece, with an inch of red, brittle tips on the end. This has to be snipped off, lock by lock, before it can be processed into roving or yarn.....a very tedious process.
Then Maggie will spin, spin, spin...until the sheep come home.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Be true to your blog...

I knew better than to make a New Year's resolution regarding my blog. They are made to be broken. But I do want to post regularly. There is so much to tell. I really enjoy logging on two a couple of blogs, and I am disappointed when there is nothing new. So why would I disappoint people who might be interested in what I am doing?

I noticed I stopped blogging when I went back to school in Sept. What a summer, ups and downs. Father passed, family troubles, fighting over the pond draining, bought the new farm (a very good thing), Hannah and Luke coming to vist (also good thing), the Swedish Weaving School, which was a bit much.

Okay, here it is...picture an idyllic setting in the Berkshires, weaving studio in the attic, six looms in very close proximity, wanna-be weavers coming from as far away as California, VERY talented and dedicated weaving teacher. I brought a friend from the high school where I teach. She has a lot of health problems, but tried as hard as she could. We stayed in a cabin high up on the hill behind the weaving house, with an out house even higher up on the hill. Beautiful views all around.

Well, I, who have a flock of a hundred sheep and goats, many rabbits, chickens, dogs, cats, etc., was surprised to find there were NO animals at all at this place. I was so homesick for my own critters, and think a cat or even a hampster would have helped me deal with my longing for something fuzzy or furry. Not even a bird feeder. OH, yes, there was a snake in the outhouse, but he doesn't count. The heat was hideous in the attic, with only two fans for six looms. The food was great, people were nice, but I just couldn't get into weaving for 15 hours a day. I just didn't get what I had hoped out of it. Maybe too stressed from the summer and brought the tension with me? I don't know.

My friend, Jan, who was so anxious to go, and the reason why I didn't cancel the week after I bought the farm and was thinking about other things, has not even set up her loom. I managed to get her spinning, and she bought a wheel, but she never spins. Oh well...I spin like my life depends on it. I know I will get my beautiful Glimakra set up at the new farm...someday.

Enough for now...

Maggie signing off...